INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – At 6-foot-2, University of Great Falls women’s basketball post Lindsey Abramson doesn’t attempt many 3-pointers.
Still, with the seventh-seeded Lady Argonauts needing one shot to keep their Cinderella run in the NAIA National Tournament alive, the play went to senior.
Abramson didn’t hesitate. She knocked down the wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to give the No. 25 Lady Argos a stunning 72-69 upset victory over third-seeded and No. 12 Langston.
“We executed the play exactly how we drew it up,” UGF head coach Bill Himmelberg said. “Erin (Legel) coming off the double screen, then going over, Lindsey going out and knocking the shot down.”
The improbable postseason success continued for UGF (24-9), which has won its first two games in its first-ever trip to the tournament. The Lady Argos will take on defending national champion and No. 1 seed Oklahoma City in the Elite Eight Saturday at 1 p.m. Mountain Time.
“I think a lot of these teams are underestimating us and we’re fighters,” said Abramson, who had attempted only 24 treys – making 11 – prior to Friday.
“We’re still there and we’re still kicking,” she added. “I don’t think people should be underestimating us. We’ve beat two top teams and we’re still dancing.”
While Abramson’s shot broke a 69-all tie, the Lady Argos certainly felt the need to win the game in regulation.
All-Conference guard Darah Huertas-Vining was injured during Wednesday’s opening round victory and didn’t play, while the already short-handed Argos were hampered by foul trouble late in the contest.
Herron filled in admirably at the guard spot while Wilmore collected seven rebounds – none bigger than the defensive board she secured with 15 seconds to play that set up Abramson’s game-winning shot.
Legel took the ball up-court, faked a drive to the basket before kicking the ball out to the wide-open Abramson at the top of the key. Abramson drained it as the Lady Argos rushed onto the floor in celebration.
“It couldn’t have happened unless Mary got that great defensive board, and I think that says it all,” Abramson said. “If she lets that go and (Langston) would have got it we would have been down two. I have to give credit to Mary – that was the best board she’s had all year.”
The ensuing pandemonium capped a back-and-forth second half in which neither team led by more than five points.
UGF struggled early and found itself trailing 18-4 before rallying to cut the deficit to 32-30 at halftime.
“We were kind of quiet (early),” UGF freshman Stephanie McDonagh said of the slow start. “Once we started talking to each other and encouraging each other, and not getting down on one another for our mistakes we really got going.”
Legel led UGF with 21 points and seven assists, while Abramson had 19 points and nine rebounds. McDonagh scored a dozen points to go along with seven rebounds as UGF went to the freshman frequently with Huertas-Vining absent.
“I had to be more offensive-minded,” McDonagh said. “My team really encouraged me and they wanted me to shoot the ball. They wanted me to dribble. In the beginning they yelled at me to dribble the ball.”
Nnadi scored nine points and had eight rebounds off the bench, while Brainard added seven points and six boards. Owens also collected seven rebounds.
The Lady Argos capitalized with 17 second-chance points as they out-rebounded Langston 55-41.
The Lions (28-4), who are coached by former women’s basketball legend Cheryl Miller, were led by Lulu Perry’s 21 points. T’Keya Mason scored 17, Lynette Holmes added 13 and Che’Ron Lewis chipped in 10.